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South Korean army to discharge transgender soldier

South Korean army to discharge transgender soldier”

After the meeting, the Army announced that the officer can not continue military service. Many try to postpone their service, apply for plum assignments or avoid it altogether.

A defence ministry spokesman said Ms Byun had undergone tests at a military hospital, which classified the loss of male genitals as a mental or physical disability, prompting the panel review.

The Army held a committee meeting on Wednesday to discuss the officer who had transition surgery overseas during holidays late previous year.

The issue has stirred a controversy in South Korea, with some showing understanding to the military's response, while others criticizing it as a human rights violation. "I'll challenge the decision until the end, to the Supreme Court", she said.

Ms Byun said she had not expected to be forced to leave the army. She said her unit and superiors were aware and supportive of her decision to proceed with the surgery, and had knowingly signed off on her travel to Thailand for the procedure. South Korea prohibits transgender people from joining its military but has no specific laws on what to do with those who have sex change operations during their time in service.

How are attitudes towards transgender people in South Korea?

The military does not have regulations governing the service of transgender soldiers.

"I am more than qualified and effectively completed my duty", Edhi Park said, according to a 2019 report.

Byun said part of her interest in the military came from wanting to suppress the femininity she sensed in herself, but also a strong wish to serve her country.

What has the military said?

She pleaded for a chance to continue to serve regardless of gender identity.

She had not planned on having gender reassignment surgery, she said, but was recommended to do so by doctors at a military hospital where she was sent after suffering mental health problems.

In Ms Byun's case, anti-LGBT campaigners had attempted to identify her online.

In the United Kingdom, transgender people are able to serve openly in the military.

"The committee made a decision to discharge (the soldier) based on the criteria of related laws, including the military personnel management act", it said.

Byun noted that South Korea's military was changing in many other ways - allowing soldiers to have smartphones and phasing out certain types of punishments - and that she believed its treatment of LGBT individuals could also evolve.

Becoming a soldier was her childhood dream, she added, and she now wants to serve at the conflict-ridden border with North Korea.

"I'm hoping all sexual minorities in the changing military, including myself, can carry out our duty and vocation without discrimination", she said. "I would like to be a great precedent".



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